9.27.2013

Bumpdate: {37 Weeks!!}

Oh yeah, there are definitely exclamation points in this post title. Why,  you ask? Oh, I dunno. Maybe because we have a full term baby on our hands - eep!


We are keeping our fingers crossed that she stays put until our scheduled C-section on October 14, but it's still totally exciting to have arrived at this point, which seemed forever away back in February.

Weight Gain: I think it's somewhere in the 16-17 lb. neighborhood. I'm expecting to land around 20 lbs. if we make it to 39 weeks, but we'll see.

Baby's Growth: Thriving away! They think she'll be in the 6 lb. range. 

Cravings: Soup! I made Outback Steakhouse's copycat baked potato soup from this blog on Monday and it was delicious. I've eaten on it for lunch nearly every day this week.

How I'm Feeling: Le tired of being pregnant : ) No major swelling in my feet or hands (yet), but she's so squished in there that any time she moves, it hurts like the dickens. Surprisingly though, I've still got quite a bit of energy. Very, very grateful to have had a healthy pregnancy. 


No, it's not your eyes. This pic is just horribly blurry. 
Movement: Since she's too big to give full out jabs and kicks in there anymore, most of her movement consists of rolling and squirming, which she does constantly.

Favorite  Moment this Week:  Hitting the full term mark - 37 weeks!

Sleeping: Nope. And I really wish I could. I know that I won't get any when she arrives either. It is impossible to get comfy when you have a watermelon attached to your torso. I dare you to try it.


Clothes: Pants are all maternity, shirts are a mix of both. Since I'm working from home right now, I've been living in maternity leggings and comfy - but cute - jersey tops. I love these from V.S.


I also look JUST like these models when I wear mine right now, too. Except not. At all. 

A couple few recent purchases, all of which are really comfy cozy. 
Merona Women's Favorite Shirt - here
Gillian & O'Malley Women's Entwined Scroll Robe in Black - here
Sweet C'est La Vie Sweater - here
H&M Maternity Leggings in Black - here
Polka Dot Me Home Dress from Riffraff - here

(This is what I'm taking to the hospital for our "coming home" family photo opp. It's actually really roomy, so it will accommodate the postpartum bump nicely.)


I also picked up a couple sets of these pajama pants yesterday after your advice on the "go bag" post!

Most looking forward to: That moment when it's "go" time. It could be any day now, so the anticipation is really kind of fun! I'm still hoping to have her on the scheduled day, but the not knowing is really exciting.

Thankful for: I'm most thankful that this part of the journey - the pregnancy itself -  is drawing to a close. I'm so ready to meet our baby girl and begin this next chapter.


Let's just say I'm excited for the end so we can get to the beginning.

Confessional Friday: {Link Up}


Hello, dearhearts! I do hope you're all as excited as I am for a rocking good weekend. Mine will likely entail lots of couch lounging and eating of various dips and chips laden with trans fats.

In the S household, it's just how we roll from Saturday to Sunday during college football season.

1) I confess that this Ben Nye Luxury Powder is possibly the best thing that happened to my face all week, (except for those caramel/fudge brownies last night. Those were pretty great, too.) I got the "banana" shade, as recommended by the gorgeous-pants Emily Maynard. I'll give a bit more detailed rundown on Monday's post, but the early verdict is "two thumbs up"! Oh, and did I mention I got the 1.5 oz. jar for only $10.00? That's a steal, y'all.


Note: I didn't get compensated to say this, nor was I provided the product for review. I just really wanted to pass along my thoughts on a new find.

2) I confess that my 37 week Bumpdate was supposed to make it up yesterday around noon, but didn't because, um, I completely forgot. So. It will be up later today.

3) I confess that when my OB asked me yesterday if I was getting nervous, I replied, "YES." Am I nervous about the C-section? Well, sure. But I'm more nervous about the enormous, exciting, scary, huge, amazing job that lies ahead of Stephen and me as parents. We are about to bring a HUMAN home with us. That's crazy. And awesome. And surreal. And I'm so, so excited!

4) I confess that I'm over being pregnant. Is it okay to say that?

I mean, there are parts of it that I've really enjoyed, and it truly has been so special to grow and nurture our daughter inside my body. (And for the record, I'm so grateful to the Lord for giving us this baby, which we so badly wanted.) But, I'm kind of ready to feel like myself again physically. I think that's just normal when it gets this close to the end, though.

In other news, I have a major case of the dreaded end-of-pregnancy "fat face". Those that have had kids probably know exactly what I'm talking about. My once oval-shaped face is now round like a pumpkin. And swollen/puffy constantly. It's really attractive.

Lastly, I want to thank each one of y'all for reading and/or participating in this little link-up each week! I know there are lots of other really fun link-ups out there, so it means the world that you stop by and support this one. (Here's where I start playing Rod Stewart's "Have I Told You Lately?")

In fact...


Okay, what have you got for me today? Link up and let it all out.




9.25.2013

The "Go" Bag: Packing for Baby's Debut

At Monday's OB appointment, my doctor told me to get to packing "go" bags for Stephen, Caroline and me.

I've made quite a bit of "progress" already, especially for a first-time mom, and he thinks we may not make it to October 14! (In fact, we are going back to the doctor twice weekly right now for non-stress testing. It seems our girl is determined to get here a little quicker than we anticipated.)

I'm working from home (doctor's orders) in an attempt to keep Miss Priss cooking a bit longer, so between tackling emails and projects, I'm organizing our hospital bags.

So far, here's what's made my list. I actually referenced the Lucie's List suggestions for help:




For the mommas:
What was on your packing list? 
What were you SO glad to have taken and what could you have left at home?

9.24.2013

Pucker Up

Wearing Loreal Color Whisper lipstick in Mad for Magenta at the "homegate" tailgate party we hosted at our house on Saturday.

For the longest, I was a lip gloss girl. In the past couple years, though, I've transitioned primarily to lipstick. I like that it looks a little more subdued than a ton of waxy gloss and - bonus - my hair doesn't get caught in it during a high gust of wind.

During the winter, I love reds and burgundy shades because, if there's any time to amp up the color drama, it's during cooler weather.


My tried and true favorites for cooler weather:


 1. Loreal Colour Riche lipstick in British Red

2. Maybelline Color Whisper lipstick in Mad for Magenta

3. YSL Rouge Volupte Silky Sensual Radiant Lipstick in 1 Nude Beige


Here's what they look like on actual lips : ) My skin has blue undertones and I freckle easily, so if you're similar, these will work on you!

Here's what the British Red (Loreal) lipstick looks like (pic taken last Thanksgiving).

Wearing the Color Whisper Mad for Magenta for the Maude Boutique photos back in July.

Wearing the YSL lipstick in Nude Beige at my baby shower last month.

These are next on my must-buy list!


4. Laura Mercier Rouge Nouveau Weightless Lip Colour in Sin

5. Dior Addict Lipstick in Backstage

6. Josie Maran Argan Love Your Lips Hydrating Lipstick in Happy Honey


Are you a lipstick girl? What are your favorite shades?

9.20.2013

Confessional Friday: {Link Up}


Woooooo, girls! It's Friday! Are y'all as happy as I am to be staring this weekend in the face?

Let's get to it, mmmmm'kay?

1. I confess that, surprisingly, I've been filled with this amazing sense of calm as we cross the 36 week threshold of this pregnancy. I figured I'd turn into an anxiety-filled basket case when we reached the ninth month, but I don't think I've felt this at peace throughout the entire pregnancy. This is a good thing for this tightly wound, Type A, control freak.

2. I confess that I'm ready to BURN these maternity pants. I feel like I'm forced to wear the same four outfits every. stinking. day. because I'm out of options. Options. Ask any very pregnant lady what that word means and she'll probably look at you like you're a crazy person.

3. I confess that I wish to high heavens that I lived closer to y'all, my blog friends. I mean, we exchange emails and tweets and I'm all, "Gaw! Why can't we live close enough to get coffee and see a chick flick?!"

4. I confess that, despite my attempts to block the image of these precious shoes out of my brain, I will probably purchase them. Today. I mean, for only $59? And patent leather? Goof...

A little birdie (okay, a splash banner on their website's homepage) told me that if you sign up on Sole Society, you get 20% off your first purchase. This is NOT the reason I signed up last night. Not at all...

5. I confess that there is no greater pleasure in life than a bowl of Velveeta-based dip and mound of chips sitting in your lap while college football blares on the TV in front of you. I plan to recreate this very scenario tomorrow afternoon during the Arkansas vs. Rutgers game.


6. I confess that I really liked Sleepy Hollow, which debuted on Fox this week. Of course the English major in me loves the original Washington Irving short story, (first documented on...paper!!), but I thought this modern interpretation was pretty clever. Just in time for Halloween!

7. I confess that I will be getting a mani/pedi while sipping a Pumpkin Spice Latte tomorrow morning because my dear, sweet husband gifted me with a spa day for our anniversary.

Now it's your turn!




9.19.2013

Bumpdate: (36 Weeks)

Frankly, I'm astonished that we're here: 36 weeks. Nine months pregnant. A week away from a full term baby, all ready to make her entrance at any time.

Can someone pinch me please?

Taken last night, 9/19/13

Weight Gain: I think I'm just going to wait until the end and give a final total or something? It fluctuates so much right now. Honestly, pounds are about the last thing on my mind, ha!

Baby's Growth: Doc thinks she'll be a petite little peanut : ) She got a perfect score on her BPP test this week and her lungs and heart are going, strong, strong, strong!

Cravings: Steak, Mexican food and sweet tea. You know, the three most important food groups.
How I'm Feeling: I still haven't experienced a ton of swelling, and since she has dropped, I have no shortness of breath. I've been having a few contractions, though. Sometimes I have three an hour, sometimes only one. 

I thought these were Braxton Hicks, but our OB said, "Nope! These are the real deal!" They are honestly kind of painful and I have to stop and breathe through them. Kind of like menstrual cramps with more intensity.

Taken Wednesday night. 

Movement: She's a mover, our Caroline. No one can ever say we don't have a healthy, active little girl. Her arms and legs are constantly in motion, and my insides take quite a kicking every day, ha! My little Razorback cheerleader!
Favorite  Moment this Week:  Celebrating two years of marriage with Stephen! I can't wait to raise a family and grow old with that man.

Sleeping: I think I slept about two hours last night. Between contractions and getting up to use the restroom every hour, sleep is a rare thing around here. I really, honestly don't mind, though. I've come to enjoy those silent, still hours so much. I use them to read my devotional, pray, blog, make to-do lists (ha!) and catch up on reading blogs.


Clothes: Pants are all maternity, but shirts are a mix of maternity and regular. Now that cooler weather is starting to roll in, I'm sporting a lot of Piko tops, which are AWESOME. They easily drape over the bump, but are still fitted in the arms, so they aren't too boxy. They're a win, win. 

Most looking forward to: Photographing the nursery to finally show you guys what we've done. I LOVE how it came together. 

Thankful for: A healthy baby. We have two sets of "couple" friends that just found out they are pregnant (YAY!!) and are in those very early weeks of holding their breath to make sure their babes are okay. I'm so glad our pregnancy journey is nearly complete and that she is thriving.

On Beauty

When I found out that we were expecting a daughter, my heart nearly leapt out of my chest, (though I'm certain it would have happened no matter the gender.) The girly girl that I am was elated at the chance to buy dresses and bows and lots of pink. Even though we'd have been just as thrilled for an adorable little boy, (and hope to have one someday), there was something inside me that was just giddy at the thought of raising a daughter. And a little scared.

It got me to thinking about the enormous job of raising a confident, self-assured daughter.

I recently read this beautifully written post by Erin about how she's teaching her boys the meaning of true beauty. (If you haven't read it, please, please do.)

It's no secret that there's an incredible amount of stress and responsibility that comes with raising any child, boy or girl. Teaching them right from wrong, guiding their moral compasses, making them feel loved and wanted, helping mold them into decent human beings and giving them confidence, while also keeping them grounded. It's more than any new parent can wrap her head around.

How will I instill in Caroline the meaning of real, genuine beauty? How will I help her to feel physically beautiful, while also teaching her the importance inward prettiness? How, in a world filled with such rigid standards of female attractiveness, will I teach her to accept and love her imperfections when I still struggle with the acceptance of my own? {You can read about my journey here.}

It hit me recently: I'm going to have to change the way I speak of myself if I'm going to give this baby girl the confidence she deserves.

How many of us have stood in front of a mirror this week and said something similar to the following?

"Gaw, I look so _______."
(Fill in your own blank. Fat, bloated, pasty, tired, frumpy, bony, frizzy, plain, etc.)

But I never, ever want her to hear those words. I never want her to think it's okay or normal or even expected for her to speak such harsh words to herself.

I also want her to be an example to her friends. An example of a young lady who is confident in her abilities, in her talents and content with her physical self. A person that others want to be around because, in feeling good about herself, she encourages others and elevates their self-esteem, too.

And I know that this all starts with me.

My prayers this week have been for God to help me speak kindly to myself; to give me the tools to teach Caroline that her beauty doesn't begin and end with the reflection in the mirror. I pray that He will help me raise a child that will love herself - every part of herself.

A child with a heart full of kindness and grace, who accepts herself fully and happily.

And that, friends, is always a beautiful thing.

Happy birthday to one of my favorite beauties, our niece Ava! Aunt Leslie and Uncle Stephen love you to the moon and back!


..........................

How do you teach your children the meaning of real beauty? Have you had to shift your thinking or the way in which you critique yourself?

9.18.2013

And She Shall Wear a Crown



I am sooooo very excited to tell you Northwest Arkansas girls about my friend Kelly's new salon, Crown Beauty Bar!

As beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. 



Many of you probably know of or follow sweet Kelly on Instagram, but you may not know that she just opened the doors to her own beauty bar. I recently got an appointment with one of Crown's fantastic stylists/colorists Casie Gargrave and let me tell you, I love my hair!





Upon entering the salon, I immediately felt like I was walking into a chic 5th Avenue spa. The d├ęcor is clean, modern and super inviting - all the things you want in a salon, right? And her adorable doggies can often be seen greeting customers and just plain being cute : )

Products generously gifted by Kelly Stuckey & Crown Beauty Bar.

Crown Beauty Bar carries Davines products and you NEED to know about this line. Kelly sent me home with the OI Absolute Beautifying Shampoo, OI Absolute Beautifying Conditioner and, the mother of all products, MELU Shield, an intensive heat-protecting spray. Honestly girls, I probably will never go back to my former products. In just two weeks, I've noticed a HUGE difference in the texture and sheen of my hair. *Pinky promise!




One of the most inspiring things about Crown Beauty Bar has to be the story behind the name. From Kelly's Instagram, in her own words:

The crown is inspired by scriptures Rev. 3:11, Isaiah 62:3 and James 1:12. What comfort I have when I look at all the beauty of nature and know that we, the people, are His crown of creation.


Hmmmm...any locals recognize this cutie? Heyyyyy, Kirsten

Seriously girls, if you live in the Northwest Arkansas community and are looking for a place to go for cuts, color, manicures or even a great blow dry, Crown is THE place to go.

...............................................

To book an appointment with Kelly, Casie or any of Crown's amazing stylists, call 479.935.4070 and check out their website here

*All photos taken from Crown Beauty Bar FB page. 

9.17.2013

Two Years: An Anniversary Post

Today, I'm blessed to be celebrating two years of marriage to my darling husband. And what an amazing two years it has been!


I am still so grateful for that day in (hot) July when we went on our first date. I remember opening the door to my bachelorette pad. He was even better looking than in the tiny little picture I'd seen of him. I think I remember even (dorkily) telling him weeks later, "A 125 x 125 thumbnail just didn't do you justice." Ha!

What had me hooked more than anything though was his kindness. Anyone who knows my husband knows that he's a comedian, always the one to hold court wherever he goes. But, behind the dry and hilarious extrovert lies a man with a heart of gold.
 


We fell hard and fast and so perfectly (for us) that only God himself could have orchestrated the details. But, isn't that way the best things always happen? When we least expect them?


To Stephen:

Thank you for loving me so wholly and unconditionally. Thank you for accepting me for all my faults and shortcomings, and for giving me the grace to be my best self.

Thank you for supporting my career and my ambitions. Thank you for bringing out my best qualities and for loving me in spite of my worst.

Thank you for your faithfulness and for your commitment to "us".

I cannot wait to see you hold our baby girl next month. I think "dad" will be one of your best roles yet, only second to "husband".

I love you.

Leslie



Photo  of us by Bethany McGhehey

9.13.2013

Confessional Friday: {Link Up}



Hola, amigas. Well, it appears that we have once again made it to Friday. And, it's the 13th. So, before we stick a fork in this work week, let us confess our innermost thoughts in this, another edition of Confessional Friday.

1. I confess that I worked from home yesterday, sitting in the glider in the nursery. Why? Because frankly, that room makes me so darn happy. It's cozy and serene, and oozes "baby girl". Who says you can't bang out some work emails and projects from a nursery? #corporatemom

2. I confess that I LOVE doing tiny laundry. Yes, I know it will eventually start to become a chore, but something about washing and drying tiny socks and onesies in preparation for Caroline...GAW. Love it.

3. I confess that, of all things involving childbirth, the spinal (for the C-section) terrifies me the most.

4. I confess that I'm thisclose to busting out my fall decorations. If it weren't a million degrees outside, I might have done it already. Or maybe I'll just say, "psssshhhffftt!", and do it anyway.

5. I confess that I had a person (male) ask to touch my baby bump yesterday. This was strange on soooooo many levels. I kindly told him, um, no.

6. I confess that I'm ready to be able to wear my old pants again. You know, the ones with features like "zippers" and "buttons". Not that I'm not grateful for maternity jeans, but it's tough to feel sexy when you have a Lycra/Spandex tummy panel riding all the way up to your boobs. #ThisIsRealLife

7. I confess that the ending of last week's episode of Breaking Bad literally sent me into a contraction. No joke, folks. If I go into labor this Sunday, I'll probably have Bryan Cranston and Vince Gilligan to thank.





9.12.2013

Bumpdate: {35 Weeks}

Four weeks left, folks. That, my sweet friends, is one month. We've got the car seat installed, the nursery got the finishing touches last night and I'm packing my "go" bag this weekend. We are locked and loaded, kids.

Let's do this.


Weight Gain: They actually didn't weigh me yesterday since I had the ultrasound in a different building before the actual Dr.'s appointment, so I'm not sure. I'm thinking at least a pound or two? 

For now, I'm going to say one million pounds (said in my Dr. Evil voice.) Or at least this mid-nineties heat makes it feel that way.

Baby's Growth: Last week, she was weighing in at around 5 lbs. 3 oz. - a healthy, thriving girl!

Cravings:  I had the biggest craving for mashed potatoes and homestyle gravy last night, with a side of fried okra. Of course I haven't had the chance to indulge said craving yet, but maybe this weekend?  I think a trip to A.Q. might be in order, (NWA girls, y'all know what I'm taking about!)

How I'm Feeling: I won't lie. Being nine months pregnant is uncomfortable. But uncomfortable means baby girl is growing bigger by the day, which just means we're one step closer to meeting her! I've gotten sick a few times this week and I can say that this is one part of pregnancy I'll be delighted to see come to an end.

Still not a lot of swelling and really no shortness of breath, so I've been pretty lucky! Energy is still pretty good, too!

Movement: She moves a LOT. We do kick counts (here, if you aren't up on your pregnancy lingo) after dinner each night and sometimes, they hurt so bad my eyes water, haha. Our girl is a mover and a shaker already!

She likes to stick her elbow out and jab me, so last week we started playing with her and gently pushing it back in. Then she would push it back out and we'd poke it back in. I'm not ashamed to admit we spent a good 20 minutes playing this game with her last night : )

Favorite  Moment this Week:  Realizing that we are done, done, and done with the nursery and have pretty much all the essentials, (okay, we have a TON of everything), so we're ready for Caroline, in terms of stuff, anyways. My breast pump came in on Monday - I went with the Medela Pump in Style Backpack, per the advice of a co-worker who recently gave birth - so I'm ready to rock and roll!
Sleeping: I average about three hours a night, give or take. She is worth every sleepless minute, though. I actually enjoy that quiet time just reading my devotional, praying, blogging and catching up on the DVR.


Clothes: Pants are all maternity, but I did buy two really cute tops from Impressions and ordered my first fall purchase from Riffraff. All of these will be perfect both now and after Miss Priss arrives.
Body Contrast Sweater c/o Riffraff

Rhythm of Love blouse in Rust // Amore Cardi in Black

Most looking forward to: My appointment today! Not to dole out too much info, (we like to keep it PG-rated around here), but I've already made a good bit of "progress", especially for a first baby, so we may be slightly adjusting the date for the C-section, after we confirm the development of her lungs, growth, etc.

Unless I go into labor on my own though, we're still shooting for 39 weeks. Dr. D just doesn't want me to go into labor at a time when he might not be there to deliver. He always says that he's "selfish" with his patients and likes to deliver his own babies - LOVE that about him!

Thankful for: My husband. I had a super rough week physically and he was there for every bit of it. Whether it was talking me through a contraction (oh yeah, we're having those - ouch!) or kneeling next to me in the bathroom while I got sick, he has been my constant. I do not deserve him, but I thank God for him each day.

9.11.2013

August Lou


I wanted to take a sec today to tell you girls about a really adorable Etsy boutique, August Lou Designs. Recently, sweet Katie contacted me and told me all about her newest venture designing precious little diaper covers/bloomers and accessories for babes.

I mean, talk about cute, right? Gaw. Too much to handle.





She was incredibly generous and offered to send my little Caroline a diaper cover of her own and a couple of beautifully made matching headbands.



I was just blown away with the attention to detail and the quality of the items. Needless to say, I can't wait to put them on our sweet baby girl in just a few weeks!


One of the things that I was most taken with is that Katie donates a portion of her sales to children with special needs. Both of Katie's parents are child psychologists, and she grew up being very involved with the special needs population, often volunteering with organizations like the Special Olympics.

Any of Katie's fabulous creations would make the PERFECT baby gift, so be sure to keep August Lou Designs in mind!